One dead, several hurt in terror attack at Beersheba central bus station
Terrorists armed with a knife and at least one firearm stormed the Beersheba Central Bus Station on Sunday night, killing an Israeli and wounding several others before being subdued by police.
Negev police said that officers who arrived at the scene shortly after 7:30 p.m. shot one terrorist dead and shot and wounded the other. They then began sealing off the area and searching for other possible assailants.
As of almost two hours after the attack began, police said they did not know the identity of the two attackers or exactly how they arrived at the station, and could not rule out whether or not they were helped by any accomplices who have yet to be apprehended.
It also remains unclear for now if they already had firearms when they arrived or snatched them after stabbing a soldier or other armed Israeli.
Negev police were able to confirm however that one of the wounded in the attack was a citizen of Eritrea who was shot by Israeli security personnel, though they added “it is unclear if he was connected to the attack or was shot because of his appearance.”
Soroka Hospital said in a statement that 10 shooting victims were being treated at the hospital. These included one who arrived showing no signs of life, two others who were seriously wounded, and the rest lightly-to-moderately wounded, mainly with injuries to their extremities. Four of those wounded are police officers.
Gadi Abuhatzeira, the deputy manager of Magen David Adom’s Negev district described the scene: “Inside of the station there were several wounded and laid out over an area of about 30 meters, all of them in their late 20s.”
In response to the attack, Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan (Bayit Yehudi), who grew up in Beersheba, called on the international community to stop the Palestinian Authority’s incitement to terrorism.
“The international community must urgently act to curb the incitement and the encouragment of terrorism by the leaders of the Palestinian Authority, and not to plummet into initiatives such as internationalizing Temple Mount, which only encourage terrorism,” said Ben-Dahan, referring to recent suggestions to place the site under international supervision.
Speaking of the scene of the attack, he added that “unfortunately, the terrorists don’t stop. This is a stepping up from knife attacks to shooting.”
“I call again on the government to expel the families of terrorists. This is the only step that will deter them from carrying out the next terrorist attack,” he said.
Rash of Palestinian stabbing attempts continues over weekend
A spate of attempted terrorist attacks took place over the weekend in Jerusalem and the West Bank, wounding two Israelis.
A teenager from the south eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Jebl Mukaber was shot dead in the nearby Armon Hanatziv neighborhood on Saturday morning when he tried to stab Border Police officers, police said.
Police subsequently identified the terrorist as Muataz Awisat, 16.
The attack took place shortly after a concerned resident notified police there was a suspicious- looking Arab teenager on Rav Hahovel Street during the midmorning hours.
When Border Police officers arrived moments later and asked to search the suspect, he withdrew a large kitchen knife from his pocket and tried to stab them; one of the officers shot him dead.
None of the officers was wounded.
Armon Hanatziv resident Jeff Gross said he was walking to his synagogue with his wife and daughter when the shots were fired.
“I was walking to shul with my wife and nine-year-old daughter when we heard the shots,” Gross said moments after the attack.
“I ran ahead and saw border policemen surrounding the body of the Palestinian. I went back to my family and we took a different route. I don’t need my daughter to see that.”
The attempted stabbing comes four days after two Jews were shot and stabbed to death, and three others seriously wounded, on an Egged bus by two terrorists from the adjoining Arab neighborhood, whose access has since been regulated by police checkpoints.
Jerusalem police said on Saturday night that a terrorist at the Kalandiya checkpoint, between the capital and Ramallah, pulled a knife and tried to stab a police officer, but was unable to penetrate the officer’s bulletproof vest.
Knife used in Jerusalem attack, October 17, 2015
Officers then opened fire on the attacker, hitting him in the lower body. A bomb squad officer then approached the wounded attacker, who pulled out another knife and tried to stab him. A Border Police officer then opened fire, hitting the attacker and subduing him.
The police said later that the terrorist, aged 24, was drunk when he came to the checkpoint.
Police remain on heightened alert throughout the capital, as 300 soldiers are to be dispatched on Sunday to secure the city’s public transportation system.
Also on Saturday, a Palestinian attempted to stab an Israeli civilian in Hebron. The civilian produced a firearm and shot his attacker dead.
Later on Saturday, a terrorist stabbed and moderately wounded a soldier at a police checkpoint in the city. A second soldier shot and critically wounded the Palestinian attacker.
The soldier was admitted to Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem with knife wounds to his upper body.
In an attempted stabbing by a woman terrorist in Hebron on Saturday, the Border Police said the attacker approached woman officer “M.” at the check post outside her base and asked for directions.
When M. approached her, she said the woman tried to stab her in the neck, but hit her vest instead.
M said she then took a step back, cocked her rifle, and shot the woman.
In Hebron on Friday, a Palestinian terrorist disguised as a photojournalist stabbed and moderately wounded a soldier at the Zayit junction outside Kiryat Arba, before he was shot dead by a second soldier.
During the incident, the attacker approached the soldier wearing a brightly colored vest printed with the word “Press” in English and carrying a camera. He suddenly produced a knife and lunged at the soldier, stabbing him, before being shot.
The wounded 20-year-old soldier was admitted in satisfactory condition with a stab wound to his upper body to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.
The Foreign Press Association issued a statement saying, “We utterly deplore this violation of press privilege and call on local Palestinian media organizations to immediately verify all media credentials to ensure there are no violations.
The FPA represents the foreign media working in Israel and the Palestinian territories and tightly restricts the issuance of FPA credentials.
“This attack was carried out by someone posing as a local Palestinian journalist. All the same, it marks a worrying development that demands that all media operate with heightened caution in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.”
Security forces questioned a Palestinian photographer after the incident, and released him.
Also on Friday, Palestinians fired shots at an IDF vehicle near the Palestinian village of Silwad, east of Ramallah. There were no injuries in the incident. The army said it spotted three suspects fleeing the scene and began a search of the area.
Judea and Samaria Police arrested a man on Thursday night they suspect plotted a “price tag” attack against Palestinians, the district police said on Saturday night.
Police said that on Thursday night, officers patrolling the Beladim outpost in Samaria saw the man trying to stash a backpack and flee the scene. In the bag, police said they found black gloves, spray paint, ski masks, a flashlight and a hand gas pump. They arrested the man, a Jerusalem resident, and on Friday, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court extended his remand by three days.
On Saturday evening, the suspect’s attorney, Avihai Hajbi, said that police in court said they cannot link the items inside the bag to his client, who he believes will be released by Monday.
The West Bank saw several riots during the weekend.
On Saturday, around 200 Palestinians clashed with the IDF at the Ayosh junction, between Ramallah and Beit El. They threw gas grenades and rolled burning tires at soldiers, who responded with crowd control measures and fired low-caliber rifle rounds. The Red Crescent evacuated a number of rioters who were wounded in the clash.
Around 300 Palestinians marched from Hebron to Halhoul Bridge and clashed with soldiers, who employed riot control measures and fired low-caliber rifle rounds at rioters’ legs. They spotted one Palestinian rioter who sustained an injury and fled the scene.
On Friday, some 150 Palestinians threw rocks at the town of Beit Umar near Hebron.
The IDF fired rubber bullets at the rioters. Soldiers spotted a number of Palestinians who were hurt in the clash and escaped.
Some 150 Palestinians threw rocks and a pipe bomb at soldiers at the Prigat junction, south of Nablus. The IDF fired low-caliber rounds, wounding a number of rioters.
Around 80 Palestinians hurled firebombs and homemade grenades at Rachel’s Tomb near Bethlehem on Friday. Soldiers responded by firing low-caliber rounds, resulting in a number of rioters sustaining light injuries.
On ‘Day of Rage,’ Palestinian mob torches Joseph’s Tomb
Palestinian rioters set fire to the prayer compound at Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus in the early hours of Friday morning. The compound, which was empty at the time, was heavily damaged.
The incident came as Israeli security forces brace for a Palestinian “Day of Rage” across Judea and Samaria and east Jerusalem, called for by Palestinian terrorist groups.
According to available details about the Joseph’s Tomb incident, at around 5 a.m. Friday some 100 Palestinians rioted outside the compound and at some point began hurling firebombs onto the premises, setting the main access to the tomb, its courtyard and part of the building on fire.
Defense officials told Channel 2 News that Palestinian security forces were able to extinguish the flames and disperse the riot by the time Israeli forces had arrived.
A second, smaller riot, erupted when Israeli security forces arrived at the holy site. Rioters pelted the troops with rocks and threw firebombs at their vehicles. The soldiers use crowd control measures to disperse the riot.
Security forces have remained on the premises to prevent Palestinian rioters from vandalizing the site further.
Joseph’s Tomb is under the Palestinian security forces’ control. Jewish prayer in the compound is allowed, but worshippers are required to coordinate their visits with the military, which escorts them in and out of the area.
Jewish access to the compound is often restricted for security reasons.
Following the incident, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, tweeted, “IDF will bring perpetrators to justice, restore the site & ensure that freedom of worship returns to Joseph’s Tomb.”
Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai and Civil Administration Director Col. David Menachem have been briefed on the situation by Palestinian security forces. According to one defense official, the Palestinian officers condemned the incident and said they will work to repair the damage and restore order to the premises.
Nablus Governor Akram Rajoub condemned the arson attack.
Later on Friday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also issued a condemnation. He ordered the damage be repaired and opened an investigation into the arson. A statement from his office said Abbas “stressed his rejection of these actions and all actions that violate law and order, and which distort our culture, our morals and our religion.”
Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi) said the incident was “a new low, and a direct result of the Palestinian incitement. The Palestinians outright lie about Israel infringing on the status quo on the Temple Mount while desecrating and torching a Jewish holy site. This is unforgivable.”
Ariel urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “to impose Israeli control over Joseph’s Tomb.”
Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria Regional Council expressed outrage over the incident. “As a Jew, I’m stunned by this appalling act, which I believe no one in the free world could see as anything less than barbaric and criminal,” he told the Walla news site. “Torching a Jewish holy site, a world historical asset, is nothing short of barbarism by the Palestinian Authority and its leader. This proves, yet again, that this ‘partner’ cannot be trusted. The prime minister must order the deployment of IDF soldiers to Joseph’s Tomb immediately, because clearly, no one else can protect this inalienable asset.
“Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas], the Holocaust denier, is responsible for this incident and he must be made to answer for it.”
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Lieberman condemned the attack. “The arson at Joseph’s Tomb proves that the Palestinian Authority is no different than the Islamic State group. Palestinian youth no longer suffice with using machetes and knives to kill Jews, now they are burning down holy sites and historical heritage sites.”
Meanwhile, Israel security forces confirmed their Palestinian counterparts have been investing considerable efforts it quelling unrest in Palestinian cities, and have arrested 19 terror suspects over the past week.
According to a Walla report, the suspects were arrested “thanks to the monitoring of online chatter and flagged social media groups.”
Terrorist Disguised as Journalist Stabs IDF Soldier
A terrorist wearing the yellow garb of a photojournalist stabbed an IDF soldier on Friday, at the Hazayit checkpoint near Hevron.
According to initial reports, the terrorist – who wore a yellow vest with “PRESS” upon it and who carried photography equipment – suddenly pulled out a knife, dropped his props, and ran for the soldier, stabbing him.
The terrorist was shot dead immediately by a senior officer at the site.
The soldier, a 20 year-old man, was evacuated for medical treatment to Shaarei Tzedek hospital in Jerusalem by Magen David Adom (MDA) medics at the scene, and is reportedly in moderate condition.
He is suffering from deep stab wounds to the upper back and hand and is fully conscious.
“Just one day after the arson of the tomb of Joseph, one of the fathers of the Jewish people, and the Arabs continue to incite and to riot,” Har Hevron Regional Council head Yohai Dimri stated shortly after the attack. “Violations of the status quo by rioters continue and I wish to encourage by our soldiers and policemen during this war in Judea, Samaria, and all of Israel.” (Arutz Sheva)
Canine Unit Thwarts Bomb Attack in Jerusalem
A police dog on Friday saved the lives of Border Police officers at a checkpoint in the northeastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Isawiya, as it sniffed out a pipe bomb that was meant to murder the soldiers.
As part of the bolstered police and IDF presence in the capital due to the recent terror wave, Border Patrol Sgt. Maj. Erez Cohen arrived with the police dog Taz to help security forces in Isawiya, which is located just north of Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus campus.
While scanning the area, the dog located a pipe bomb adjacent to the checkpoint, which Isawiya residents leave through towards the road leading to Ma’ale Adumim east of the capital. Reserve duty Border Patrol forces are stationed at the checkpoint to check residents passing in and out, so as to prevent terrorist attacks in the capital.
A bomb squad was called to the site, and after confirming the pipe bomb was indeed armed and lethal, the area was sealed off and the explosive was set off in a controlled detonation.
The explosive was powerful enough to murder security forces, or Arab residents passing through the checkpoint.
Sgt. Maj. Chaim Segev, commander of the Border Police canine squad in Jerusalem, said, “we are ready for exactly this type of incident; it is quite likely that the actions of the canine expert who located the explosive before it was used against security forces on the site saved lives.”
“The officers acted with self-sacrifice for the security of residents of the capital and its many visitors, and they deserve great appreciation,” said superintendent Aviad Katafi, commander of the Kedem Brigade.
“We will continue to conduct the missions with professionalism and firmness to return the quiet and security,” added Katafi. (Arutz Sheva)
Palestinians seek to claim Western Wall is part of Al-Aqsa compound
Six Arab states are set to submit a proposal on behalf of the Palestinians to the UN’s cultural body to officially claim the Western Wall as part of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound (the Temple Mount), Israel’s Ynet news website reported Friday.
The proposal will be submitted in the coming days to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, known as UNESCO, by Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates, Ynet said. The Palestinians are not members of the body’s executive council, and therefore rely on one of the 58 member states to submit the proposal.
Ynet quoted senior Israeli sources as saying that the Palestinians are also seeking to submit the proposal in parallel to the UNESCO plenum, where they are recognized as a state.
The proposal also calls for the international community to condemn Israel for urging “its citizens to bear arms in light of recent terror wave,” as well as recent actions by Israel and the IDF in Jerusalem. The document, a copy of which was obtained by Ynet, refers to Jerusalem as “the occupied capital of Palestine.”
In addition, the Palestinians seek condemnation of ongoing Israeli archaeological excavations near the Temple Mount and the Old City in Jerusalem, as well as for the “aggression and illegal measures taken against the freedom of worship and access of Muslims to Al-Aqsa Mosque and Israel’s attempts to break the status quo since 1967.”
According to Ynet, Israel is trying to convince as many countries as possible to oppose the proposal, or abstain. However, the report said, the proposal will likely be approved as there is a Muslim and Arab majority on UNESCO’s executive council.
The Palestinians claim that Israel plans to change the status quo at the site, which is holy to Jews and Muslims but where Jews are allowed to visit but not pray. Israel has repeatedly denied the accusation, which has been a key factor in the ongoing violence.
Israel on Friday rejected Palestinian calls for an international force to be deployed in East Jerusalem to promote calm around the Temple Mount and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“Let me be crystal clear — Israel will not agree to any international presence on the Temple Mount. Such a presence would be a change in the status quo,” Israel’s Deputy Ambassador David Roet told the UN Security Council.
The 15-member council met in an emergency session to discuss weeks of escalating violence between Israel and the Palestinians in Jerusalem and the territories.
The urgent talks were requested by council member Jordan following a meeting on Thursday of Arab ambassadors who expressed alarm at the escalating situation.
Palestinian envoy to the UN Riyad Mansour had called on the Security Council to provide international protection to the holy site.
But Roet said Israel was respectful of all religions in the city. Meanwhile, he said, the Palestinians were unwilling to acknowledge any Jewish rights to the capital’s holy sites.
On Friday, Palestinians torched a Jewish holy site in the West Bank as they staged a “Friday of revolution” against Israel and a man posing as a news photographer stabbed an Israeli soldier before he was shot dead.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “strongly condemns this reprehensible act and calls on those responsible to be swiftly brought to justice,” Assistant Secretary General Taye-Brook Zerihoun told the council.
But Zerihoun also criticized what he called Israel’s “apparent heavy-handed” use of force in dealing with Palestinian violence and said Israeli actions raised “serious questions” about the proportionality of the response. (The Times of Israel)
IDF Patrol Comes Under Fire on Gaza Border
IDF soldiers patrolling the border fence with Gaza came under terrorist gunfire on Friday afternoon, in an attack that took place at the border in the central area of Gaza.
No one was wounded in the gunfire, which took place across the border from the Bureij “refugee camp,” not far from the Israeli town of Kissufim.
Bullet damage was located on the windshield of an IDF bulldozer that was stationed over the border for engineering work, indicating an apparent Gaza sniper attack.
The attack comes the same Friday that both Hamas and Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction declared as a “Day of Rage.”
It was reported this week that Israel is intending to speed up plans to build a massive fence along the border with Gaza, similar to the one existing along the Israeli-Egyptian border.
The move comes after several recent attempts to breach the border fence; last Saturday night, at least 40 Gazans broke through the border fence amid rioting on the Gaza side, in a very palpable security threat.
They made it several meters into Israeli territory near the Kissufim kibbutz, before being repelled by IDF forces. Several Gazans were arrested in the incident.
Three Arab rioters were killed and 17 more wounded in an attempted border breach last Friday when soldiers responded to youths throwing rocks and other projectiles at them.
In response to the attempted infiltrations, the heads of four regional councils in the Gaza Belt region called on both the Defense Minister and the Prime Minister to immediately advance stalled plans to build a barricade the entire length of the Gaza border. (Arutz Sheva)
Arab Doctors Suspected of Ignoring Jewish Terror Victims
Health Minister Ya’akov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) ordered an investigation on Friday to check suspicions that Arab medical staff at a clinic in Jerusalem’s Old City did not go out to help Jewish victims, who were stabbed right next to the clinic.
The incident in question is the brutal murder of Aharon Banita Bennett (21) and Rabbi Nehemia Lavi (41), which took place on Hagai Street on October 3. Bennett’s wife was seriously wounded and his two-year-old son was lightly wounded in the Arab terrorist attack.
While Bennett’s wife’s condition has since improved, it is likely that immediate medical treatment could have lessened the seriousness of her wounds and possibly saved the life of her husband and of Rabbi Lavi, who was stabbed as he came to try and save the young couple and their son.
The Arab-run health clinic located adjacent to the stabbing was open at the time of the attack and medical staff was present inside, reports Channel 2.
However, the Arab medical team did not go out to provide treatment to the wounded, despite their occupational obligations to treat the wounded, just as Magen David Adom (MDA) medics treat Arab terrorists at the scenes of attacks.
The Health Ministry is currently checking whether the medical staff could have helped the wounded and chose not to.
Minister Litzman ordered to speed up the process and mete out justice against those responsible if it becomes clear that they indeed ignored wounded Jewish victims in the lethal attack.
The suspected response of Arab medical staff falls in line with the response of Arab residents, who mocked Bennett’s wounded wife as she tried to escape the attacker and seek help. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has asked to shut down the stores belonging to the Arabs who laughed at the terror victim and struck her. (Arutz Sheva)
Jerusalem furious at French bid for observers on Temple Mount
Israel is working together with the US and others to thwart a French initiative to place international observers on the Temple Mount, a senior official in the Prime Minister’s Office said on Saturday night.
The French daily Le Figaro reported on Saturday that the French envoy to the United Nations introduced a draft text that would be endorsed by the president of the Security Council – currently Spain – to station “independent observers” on the Temple Mount to “identify possible violations of the status quo.”
A senior official in the Prime Minister’s Office dismissed the initiative as “baseless” and as “only declarative.”
“We expect that they condemn the incompetence of the Wakf on the Temple Mount,” the official said.
“Those who brought explosives and fired firecrackers were Palestinians who turned the Temple Mount into a terrorism warehouse, and they are the ones who tried to change the status quo.”
The official said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed National Security Council head Yossi Cohen and the Foreign Ministry to protest the “biased and baseless” language of the initiative.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan called the French initiative “distorted and biased,” and said it gives a “prize” to Palestinian violence.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said any international intervention on the Temple Mount would be a violation of Israel’s sovereignty there. “Only one side is preserving the status quo, and that is Israel, which wants to allow freedom of religion for everyone,” she said.
The official in the PMO repeated what Netanyahu has been saying for months – that Israel is maintaining the status quo and is committed to it. He pointed out that, under the status quo, Jews are permitted to visit the Temple Mount, and that under the 1949 Armistice Agreement there was an international commitment to the rights of the Jews to visit the Temple Mount, a right not implemented until Israel took control of east Jerusalem following the Six Day War in 1967.
The official said Friday’s arson attack at Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus is an indication of what would happen to the country’s holy places were they not in Israel’s hands.
The official went on to say that the core problem behind the current wave of terrorism is Palestinian incitement, and that Netanyahu will convene a security cabinet meeting this week to draw up operational plans to battle incitement, including what steps to take against the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel. Those steps include measures to stop the flow of funding to the organization.
If the security situation stabilizes, Netanyahu is scheduled to fly to Berlin with a number of government ministers for two days on Wednesday for a government-to-government meeting with the German cabinet, as well as a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel. He is tentatively scheduled to meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry there as well.
Netanyahu postponed his originally scheduled trip to Berlin some two weeks ago because of the wave of terrorist attacks.
Kerry phoned Netanyahu Friday evening and, according to the Prime Minister’s Office, repeated what he said in a radio interview earlier in the day: that Israel has the right to defend itself against violence, that the Palestinians need to end the incitement, and the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas must clearly condemn the violence.
Netanyahu told Kerry the Palestinian violence is a direct result of the “lies” that the PA, Islamic Movement and Hamas are spreading about the Temple Mount.
Deflecting criticism that Israel was employing disproportionate force to stop the terrorist attacks, Netanyahu said Israel is using the force necessary against acts of terrorism and lawlessness, including attempts to break through the security fence in Gaza.
Israeli Legal Eagle to File Class-Action Suit Against Facebook Over Pages Inciting Arabs to Kill Jews
As of Thursday evening, some 10,000 Israelis had signed a petition, launched by Shurat HaDin-The Israel Law Center, indicating their desire to join a class-action suit against Facebook for acting as an accomplice to terror.
Shurat HaDin, an NGO whose mission is combating terrorism through “lawfare,” took up the case, following multiple complaints lodged by concerned users about the proliferation of pages in Arabic that call for the killing of Jews. Since Facebook’s response has been blasé at best, with claims that content is monitored for adherence to certain “community standards,” and utterly ineffectual, since pages such as “Stab Israelis” have not been removed, Israel Law Center founder Nitsana Darshan-Leitner decided to take the social media giant to court.
Darshan-Leitner, listed this year by both Forbes and Israeli financial newspaper Globes as among Israel’s 50 most influential women, told The Algemeiner on Thursday evening that though freedom of expression is a democratic ideal, both morally and legally, “It cannot be without limits.”
Darshan-Leitner said that her organization had been thinking about how to confront the current wave of “knife terror” that has become a fad and a frenzy among young Palestinians and Israeli-Arabs, whose hearts and minds have been brainwashed with slogans about Israeli “desecration” of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem.
“Usually, when considering how best to tackle terrorism, we go after the money behind it,” said Leitner, who is headed for the United States, where next week she will be bringing the lawsuit against Facebook before a San Francisco judge.
“But in this case, there is no real money trail, other than the funds spent by groups like the Islamic Movement in Israel, which pays women lots of cash to harass non-Muslims on the Temple Mount,” she explained, referring to the recently-banned Muslim women’s group, Murabitat, which was organized to keep Jews from praying on the Jordanian-Israeli administered Temple Mount.
No, said Darshan-Leitner, “Something else is causing these young people to get up, grab knives and actually stab Israelis. And that ‘something’ is incitement.”
“This is nothing new in the Palestinian Authority or in Gaza,” she said. “But, typically, it has been disseminated through sermons in mosques, teachings in schools, speeches in public squares and on TV. Today, it is being spread like wildfire through social media networks.”
Neither is antisemitic rhetoric novel, according to Darshan-Leitner, even on social media. “What we are seeing today is a phenomenon with a different feel to it – with kids not only sharing their intention to become martyrs for Allah, and encouraging one another to do the same, but immediately acting on it.”
It is this particular, palpable danger that has been terrorizing the country for weeks that must now be stopped, she said. “We thought that fighting it requires minimizing the incitement. And this is why we are trying to get an injunction against Facebook to shut down those kind of pages and monitor the site to prevent other ones from appearing.”
But, given the massive traffic on Facebook, this might be a tall order, as Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon hinted last Thursday, when telling The Algemeiner about his office’s attempts to get Facebook and Google, which owns YouTube, to remove incendiary material and prevent similar content from appearing in the future.
“It is not certain that removing such clips from social media will have an effect” on the current security situation in Israel, or on the Palestinian populace, he said. “Remember, social media sites cannot do anything of this sort in advance. They react to what is reported by other users and then flagged. So, for every film they remove, another one crops up.”
Still, he was cautiously optimistic about a meeting he said was going to take place in Israel this week with a visiting Facebook bigwig to discuss this very issue.
When this discussion of the Foreign Ministry measure was put to Darshan-Leitner, she emitted a slightly sardonic laugh. “All you have to do is open Facebook right now,” she said. “And you will be able to see that nothing whatsoever has been done.”
Furthermore, she added, “It is ridiculous to say that Facebook cannot monitor these things. Notice its millions of algorithms that know exactly what you like to wear and eat, who your friends are, what music you’re interested in, etc. How else do ads aimed specifically at you mysteriously appear in your feed and on the side of the page? If it’s got algorithms for consumer purposes, it can have algorithms for other purposes, as well.”
Whether the judge will rule in her favor, however, is a different question.
“That all depends on the weight the court puts on danger to human life versus the danger to freedom of speech,” she said, urging as many people as possible to join Shurat HaDin’s class-action suit. (Algemeiner)
Message to US? Netanyahu warns allies against ‘false symmetry’ on Israel unrest
Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to take a swipe Thursday at the Obama administration and others who have urged both sides to stop the violence in Israel — saying the country’s “friends” should not “draw false symmetry” between Israeli victims and Palestinian attackers.
The Obama administration has delivered effectively the same message to Israeli and Palestinian leaders, stressing the importance of “condemning violence and combating incitement.” On Wednesday, State Department spokesman John Kirby also described a recent stabbing attack by an Israeli against Arabs in the city of Dimona as an “act of terrorism.” He went on to say, “I would say certainly individuals on both sides” have been capable of and guilty of “acts of terror.”
Netanyahu, in brief remarks on Thursday, blasted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for his own statements about the conflict — but then shifted to deliver a message to allies.
“We expect all our friends, and anyone concerned with the facts and the truth, to look at these facts to see the truth and not to draw false symmetry between Israeli citizens and those who’d stab them and knife them to death,” Netanyahu said.
He did not mention the U.S. But the statement comes after Secretary of State John Kerry, who plans to visit the region, spoke with both him and Abbas. Publicly, Obama administration officials have put pressure on both sides.
The worst of the violence flared up on Tuesday, though, when Palestinians committed four attacks that killed three Israelis and wounded many more.
The unrest was seen to be triggered by rumors that Israel was plotting to take over Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site, sacred to both Muslims and Jews. Israel has adamantly denied the allegations. But this hasn’t stopped the attacks.
In response to Tuesday’s attacks, Kirby put out a statement condemning “terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, which resulted in the murder of three Israelis and left numerous others wounded.”
He added: “We remain deeply concerned about escalating tensions and urge all sides to take affirmative steps to restore calm and prevent actions that would further escalate tensions.”
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Kerry’s visit underscores the “continuing deep concern” the U.S. has and urged both sides to take “affirmative steps” to calm tensions.
Republican lawmakers have pressed the Obama administration to take a more active role. And Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a Republican presidential candidate, blasted the administration for blaming “both sides.”
“As Palestinian terrorists continue to murder and maim Israelis, the Obama administration is spreading malicious falsehoods about the attacks,” Rubio said in a statement.
On Thursday, Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., called for Kirby to be removed from his position for saying the Israeli stabbing attacker committed terrorism.
“It is absolutely disgusting and shameful that the Obama Administration not only refuses to stand strong with our ally in Israel, but actually has the audacity to claim that the Israelis are guilty of terrorism,” Zeldin said in a statement. “… If Secretary John Kerry refuses to speak out and discipline Mr. Kirby [then] Secretary Kerry needs to step aside as well.”
Lone soldier’s loving surprise
My sister flew to the US as a teaching envoy, and now manages a Jewish school in Brooklyn, New York. When her son Jonathan reached the draft age, he came back to Israel “in order to be a soldier in the army of the nation of Israel, and protect Jerusalem,” according to him.
He did as he said he would, and flew to Israel. He told the selection officer: Only Golani. And that’s where he ended up as a lone soldier. Wednesday marked the end of a long and arduous period of basic training for Jonathan, ending in his Beret ceremony at the Golani junction.
My sister, a worrying mother, wrote a post on Facebook saying, “My son, Yonatan Hadar, a lone soldier in Golani, who came to serve the country out of pure Zionism and his love for Israel… is finishing his Beret march at the Golani Junction… If you are in the area and want to make him happy (Because we, his parents, can’t make it) – we will greatly appreciate it. It’s an emotional occasion in which a soldier’s extended family greets him. Share this post so that he knows that there is no such thing as a lone soldier!”
The post managed to cross oceans and borders and the nation of Israel answered my sister’s call. People came from all over Israel to be his family. Masuda came all the way from Dimona with a platter of cakes; and Farha Zilfa, came from the village of Migdal with a pot full of Kurdish Kube for him.
A district judge came with a few lawyers from Haifa; police Commander Shlomo Avitan, the commander of the Nazareth police, came with 10 of his policemen; A whole family of settlers from Samaria came with their children and grandchildren, along with many-many more good people.
But Yoni knew nothing of the show that awaited him, because he was still marching, holding his friend on the stretcher. When he arrived at the ceremony, he stood shocked. During the brigade commander’s speech, he praised Yonatan Hadar, and the people who came out in masses to support him. (Ynet News)
DuSH’s clowning around brings the right dose of medicine
Israeli medical clown David Barashi in Melbourne: ‘We don’t give presents to people, we are the present’.
Israeli medical clown David Barashi aka DuSH doesn’t wear a painted smile and he doesn’t hand out balloons.
He has a red nose, big shoes and naturally big hair but when he goes into a hospital in Israel or a disaster zone such as Haiti or Nepal there is no prepared act.
“If there is a person in the room that is very suffering and I came with my act, I can do something that is really not fit to the situation,” he said.
“But if I come clean without makeup I listen, I look what is going on, I try to find a few hooks to hook myself, then I start to do something.”
DuSH has been part of Israel’s medical clowns or Dream Doctors since they started in 2002, escorting patients and being involved in procedures.
He takes his work seriously, likening it to that of the doctors and nurses he works beside. “One of the criterion was we are not coming to make entertainment, we come to work and to be a part of the medical crew in the hospital,” he said.
“We create for them something they remember more than the treatment.”
DuSH is visiting Australia to work with clown doctors in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney and make children smile in hospitals along the way.
“Sometimes people will ask that I will give (them a) balloon … I give you a moment, this moment there is no air inside, there is my soul inside and you can keep it always,” he said.
“We don’t give presents to people, we are the present.”
From small beginnings, there are now more than 100 clowns working in 30 hospitals around Israel and travelling with Israeli doctors and nurses to disaster zones to provide relief and working to prevent the development of post-traumatic stress disorder, often in areas where the concept of medical clowns is new.
“In Nepal you don’t have clown doctors but you have a lot of doctors and nurses so I made a workshop with them, communication tools between staff and patients,” DuSH said.
“Language is very easy for clowns … it’s a universal language, it’s not about social status, blood, religion, colour of skin.”
He loved the opportunity to travel overseas to emergency sites and provide relief.
“How it makes a difference for them because moments before something very terrifying happened and suddenly they smile,” he said. “This is actually the best I can achieve from what I do.’’
DuSH’s clowning around brings the right dose of medicine (The Australian)
What Do Palestinian Terrorists Want?
by Bassam Tawil The Gatestone Institute
Palestinian terrorists are not driven by poverty and deprivation, as many have long argued. Instead, they are driven by hatred for Jews — because of what their leaders, media and mosques are telling them.
These young people took advantage of their status as permanent residents of Israel to set out and murder Jews. Their Israeli ID cards allow them to travel freely inside Israel. They were also entitled to the social welfare benefits and free healthcare granted to all Israeli citizens.
Muhannad Halabi wanted to murder Jews because he had been brainwashed by our leaders and media, and was driven by hatred — he was not living in misery and deprivation. The family’s house in the village of Surda, on the outskirts of Ramallah, looks as if it came out of a movie filmed in San Diego.
This conflict is not about Islamic holy sites or Jerusalem. Murdering a Jewish couple in front of their four children has nothing to do with the Aqsa Mosque or “occupation.”
For the terrorists, all Jews are “settlers” and Israel is one big settlement. This is not an intifada — it is just another killing-spree aimed at terrorizing the Jews and forcing them out of this part of the world. It already succeeded in the rest of the Middle East and is now being done there to the Christians as well.
The current wave of terrorism is just another phase in our dream to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. The terrorists and their supporters are not struggling against a checkpoint or a wall. They want to see Israel destroyed, Jews slaughtered, and the streets of Israel running with Jewish blood.
During the past few days, I had occasion to visit the homes of some of the Palestinian men and women involved in the ongoing wave of terrorism against Israelis — the violence that some are calling an “intifada,” or uprising.
What I saw — what you or anyone could see during these visits — was that none of these Palestinians had suffered harsh lives. Their living conditions were anything but miserable. In fact, these murderers had been leading comfortable lives, with unlimited access to education and work.
Four of the terrorists came from Jerusalem and, as permanent residents who had not applied for citizenship, held Israeli ID cards. They enjoyed all the rights of an Israeli citizen, except for voting for the Knesset — but it is not as if the Arabs of Jerusalem are killing and dying because they want to vote in Israeli parliamentary elections.
These young people took advantage of their status as permanent residents of Israel to set out and murder Jews. They all had Israeli ID cards that allowed them to travel freely inside Israel, and even own and drive vehicles with Israeli license plates. They were also entitled to the social welfare benefits and free healthcare granted to all Israeli citizens, regardless of their faith, color or ethnicity.
None of the young Palestinians involved in the recent terror attacks lived a mud house, a tent, or even a rented apartment. They all lived in houses owned by their families, and had unlimited access to the internet. They all carried smartphones that allowed them to share their views on Facebook and Twitter and, among other things, to engage in wanton incitement against Israel and Jews.
At the home of Muhannad Halabi, for example, the Palestinian who murdered two Jews in the Old City of Jerusalem last week, you would discover that his father is a businessman who deals in air-conditioning systems and has his own business in Ramallah. The family’s house, in the village of Surda on the northern outskirts of Ramallah, looks as if it came out of a movie filmed in San Diego.
Muhannad Halabi, his relatives said, was a spoiled boy who had gotten everything he asked for. He had been studying law at Al-Quds University near Jerusalem, and was able to commute freely between Ramallah and the campus. But the good life Muhannad had did not prevent him from joining Islamic Jihad and murdering two Jews. He wanted to murder Jews because he had been brainwashed by our leaders and media, and was driven by hatred — he was not living in misery and deprivation.
The case of Shuruq Dweyat, an 18-year-old female student from the Tsur Baher village in Jerusalem, is not really different from that of Muhannad Halabi. She is now receiving treatment in an Israeli hospital, free of charge, after being shot and seriously wounded by the Jew she tried to murder inside the Old City of Jerusalem. She was studying history and geography at Bethlehem University, to which she travelled four times a week from her home, without facing any obstacles or being stopped by Israeli soldiers.
Photos Shuruq posted on social media show a happy woman who never stopped smiling and posing for “selfies.” She has her own smartphone. Her family, like those of all the other terrorists, own their own house and lead an extremely comfortable life. The Israeli ID card Shuruq holds allows her to go to any place inside Israel at any time. She chose to take advantage of this privilege to try to murder a random Jew in the street. The reason? She, too, was apparently driven by hatred, anti-Semitism and bigotry. She, too, was the victim of a massive propaganda machine that ceaselessly demonizes Israel and Jews.
If you had met 19-year-old Fadi Alloun, you would have seen possibly the most handsome man in Jerusalem. Fadi, who came from Issawiyeh in Jerusalem, had also been enjoying a good life under Israel’s administration. He too had an Israeli ID card and was able to travel freely throughout the country. His family told me that he had loved going to shopping malls in Israel to buy clothes from chain stores such as Zara, Renuar, Castro. With his snazzy clothes and sunglasses, he looked like more like an Italian fashion model than your average terrorist. He, too, had unlimited access to the Internet and his family owned their own house.
Fadi’s good life in Israel, however, did not prevent him from setting out to stab the first Jew he met on the street. This happened last week, when Fadi stabbed a 15-year-old Jew just outside the Old City of Jerusalem. Fadi was shot and killed by Israeli policemen who rushed to the scene of the attack. Fadi did not set out to murder Jews because he had a harsh life. Nor was he driven by misery or poverty. He had almost everything to which he aspired, and his family were well-off. The life Fadi had, in fact, was much better than the lives of many of his fellow Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. As an Israeli resident, Fadi was able to go anywhere he wanted in Israel and had free access to restaurants, shopping malls and gyms.
The other young men and women who have carried out the current wave of terror attacks were also leading good lives; some had jobs inside Israel, in part thanks to their Israeli ID cards. Those who came from the West Bank were able to bypass checkpoints and the security barrier, just as thousands of other Palestinian laborers do, who cross into Israel every day in search of work and better lives.
To be honest, I envied these terrorists because of the comfortable lives they had. The furniture in their homes is far better than my furniture. Still, their luxuries did not stop them from setting out to murder Jews.
What does all this mean? It shows that the Palestinian terrorists are not driven by poverty and deprivation, as many have long been arguing. Palestinian terrorists are driven by hatred for Jews because of what their leaders, media and mosques are telling them: that the Jews are the enemy and that they have no right to be in this part of the world.
It also shows that this conflict is not about Islamic holy sites or Jerusalem, but about murdering Jews whenever possible. Murdering two Jews inside the Old City of Jerusalem or a Jewish couple in front of their four children has nothing to do with the Aqsa Mosque or “occupation.” It is simply about the desire to murder as many Jews as one can. The terrorists did not draw any distinction between a Jew living in east Jerusalem, the West Bank, Tel Aviv or Afula [northern Israel]. For the terrorists and their sponsors, all Jews are “settlers” and Israel is one big settlement that needs to be eliminated.
Our conflict with Israel is not about “occupation” or Jerusalem or holy sites or borders. Nor is it about poverty and poor living conditions or walls and fences and checkpoints. This conflict is really about Israel’s very existence in this part of the world. The current wave of terrorism is just another phase in our dream to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. This is not an intifada. It is just another killing-spree aimed at terrorizing the Jews and forcing them to leave this part of the world. It already succeeded in the rest of the Middle East, and is now being done to the Christians as well.
The terrorists and their supporters are not struggling against a checkpoint or a wall. They want to see Israel destroyed, Jews slaughtered, and the streets of Israel running with Jewish blood.
What the Stabbings in Israel Reveal about Palestinian Society
by Alexander H. Joffe The Times of Israel/Middle East Forum
Do cultures have personalities, meaningful collections of attitudes and behaviors? If so, what does the ongoing wave of stabbings of Israelis—elderly passersby, strangers on buses, boys on bikes, infants in carriages—say about Palestinian culture? Who are they, really?
One suggestion is that Palestinian culture has been overtaken by psychosis. But what is the underlying cause of this flight to unreality? Part of the answer is sadomasochism.
All cultures have a touch of sadism. Political success requires defeating and humiliating enemies in battle, if only occasionally. Individuals capable of or prone to committing terrible pain upon others are found everywhere. And all societies endorse a degree of institutional sadism—police, prisons, military—as part of their monopoly on violence. But for most, pain is only a means to an end, political success and cultural survival, which are the true pleasures.
Characterizing Palestinian sadism merely as the result of pervasive incitement is inadequate.
But inflicting pain and rejoicing in suffering are so visible within Palestinian culture that they can be construed as defining traits. Israelis being murdered, kidnapped, or even just rocketed are causes to hand out sweets to strangers in the street, to publicly affirm—and to invite others to affirm—pleasure in the suffering of others. This is a cultural psychology of objectification and dehumanization. But to characterize it merely as the result of pervasive incitement is inadequate.
Sadism of course is hardly restricted to Palestinian culture. Native American tribes routinely tortured and killed their captives for sport. Torture is rife in Afghan and Pakistani society, as well as in Mexico and Central America. ISIS broadcasts its beheadings, crucifixions and mass killings as messages to their enemies and to display religious devotion and resolve.
European and North American cultures are hardly virtuous—recall Abu Ghraib, not to mention Auschwitz—but today sadism is the individual exception rather than the societal rule. Systematizing it in culture is anathema. With the exception of warfare, elites that set trends and values, religious authorities, educators, media and politicians, never endorse sadism.
The leaders of Palestinian culture do. As Gaza’s Sheikh Muhammad Sallah put it, “My brother in the West Bank: Stab! My brother is the West Bank: Stab the myths of the Talmud in their minds! My brother in the West Bank: Stab the myths about the temple in their hearts!” This merely operationalized Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas’ dehumanizing call to arms: “Al-Aksa is ours and so is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. They have no right to desecrate them with their filthy feet. We won’t allow them to do so and we will do whatever we can to defend Jerusalem.” To these we may add generations of Fatah newspapers, Hamas summer camps, Friday sermons, children’s TV characters like Nahoul the bee, and much more.
Palestinian culture rejects empathy with Israelis as deviance.
Individual Palestinians, of course, are disgusted by kidnapping and murder, by rocket attacks, and by the inevitable retaliation. But few speak out for fear of ostracism and violence. Palestinian culture as a whole rejects empathy with Israelis as deviance.
Why the inability to feel a human connection with Jews and Israelis? One explanation is that their experience at the hands of Israelis is so uniquely terrible that however Palestinians respond is logical and virtuous. In this narrative dispossession and ‘occupation’ legitimize Palestinian violence, which is not really violence at all but ‘ legitimate resistance’ by victims par excellence.
But the fetish of ‘resistance’ and victimhood leads to another notable Palestinian cultural trait, masochism. The ideology of steadfastness and resistance has long celebrated Palestinian ability to endure pain, much of which it creates itself.
Decades of theatrical – and individual – violence necessarily and by design provoked Israeli responses. At every step potential gains were secondary to inflicting real and psychological pain on Israeli civilians and the political-cultural goal of ‘publicizing the Palestinian cause.’ Israeli counterattacks were used to rally support, quash peaceful voices, and cement the reign of the PLO and then Hamas. Retaliation was demanded and then revelled in, amidst blood and ashes, reinforcing the self-perception of Palestinian victimhood.
The goal of Hamas’s rocket campaign of 2014 was sadistic, random destruction, but the construction of an entire battlespace within and below Gaza’s civilian population was deeply masochistic. Tunnels connected homes, clinics and schools in order to be tactically useful for fighting and strategically useful when destroyed. The population was not merely a human shield for Hamas, but a line of defense that Hamas knew would be destroyed. When tunnel entrances are behind someone’s kitchen sink, to what extent were Gaza’s civilians also aware of Hamas’s strategy? They became, willingly and not, human sandbags.
Conventional terrorism has a group context that rationalizes violence and states “we are the resistance.” Today’s interpersonal violence manifests culture at the individual level, where sadism and masochism are no longer political but supremely personal. They appear unmoored from notions of cause and effect that motivate political violence like hostage-taking or even bombings, designed to provoke fear and specific actions like freeing prisoners.
Masochism has effects beyond dead civilians and the desired international condemnation. It demands that Palestinian society be dragged by the violence of the street, by factions and “rogue cells,” whose unauthorized and untimely violence must be endorsed lest resistance be ‘betrayed.’ The deepest ‘cycle of violence’ is the individual who invites punishment for the whole, which must then be endorsed and endured.
The masochism of the current stabbing campaign is apparent, since any rational analysis based on experience would conclude that Israelis will suffer but Palestinians will ultimately suffer more. But against this is something else, captured neatly in Hamas’ preaching “Killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah.” Here is a religious appeal to a higher reality that cannot be refuted by logic or experience. Masochism is an avenue to salvation, transforming murderers into heavenly beings.
Why a culture of sadism and masochism? Some of the answer is the experience of the Palestinians across the past 100 or 150 years with the Turks, British, and Jews. But it is also the mutually reinforcing natures of patriarchal, theocratic, and authoritarian (PTA) culture and Islamic ideology.
In cultures with nuclear families and not clans, where the individual is the ultimate locus of free will and where politics have no divine sanction, failures—like acts that invite retaliation—are cause to replace leaders, behavior, or ideas.
Palestinian sadism isn’t just political; it’s supremely personal.
But PTA cultures have entirely different logic; predictable failures usefully generate adverse conditions that must then be overcome by more of the same. Failure reinforces the existing culture, its leaders, and general resolve. Provocations must be therefore redoubled. Failure is success; adversity has been created and must be surmounted. And proclamations that “My son is an offering to the Al-Aqsa, congratulations to him on the Martyrdom-death” are ideological keys to the continued cycle of power and suffering.
What is the response to sadomasochism and religion in international affairs? First is to recognize it for what it is, an entirely different set of cultural premises and behaviors, with self-reinforcing logic, that plays off superficial Western images of victims and victimizers.
Second, notions of collective gain, through negotiation or strategies of coercion and benefits, may apply partially or not at all. Finally, one must take Palestinian leaders at their word and recognize that they are playing a zero sum game in which Israel simply cannot exist.
When suffering is embraced, when one side truly loves death more than life, how can peace be made? What is the price and who is willing to pay? These questions remain unanswered.
Alexander H. Joffe, a Shillman-Ginsburg fellow at the Middle East Forum, is a historian and archaeologist.
Understanding the language of murder
by Alex Ryvchin The Daily Telegraph (Sydney)
Palestinian cleric Muhammad Salah stands at the pulpit of his mosque in Gaza clutching a large kitchen knife. His hand repeatedly comes down in a violent stabbing motion. He does not speak in an allegory, or sermonise to his flock.
He delivers a very specific command: “Form stabbing squads. We don’t want just a single stabber. Attack in threes and fours. Some should restrain the victim, while the others attack him with axes and butcher knives. Cut them into body parts.”
He lists Israeli cities where they are to strike: Afula, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Results quickly follow. In Afula on the day of Muhammad Salah’s sermon, a young Palestinian woman stabs a security guard at a bus station.
The following day, in Jerusalem, a 16-year-old Palestinian stabs two Jewish men in their 60s.
More stabbing attacks follow in Jerusalem two days later. In one attack a boy of 13 riding his bicycle is set upon and stabbed nearly to death.
The next day, in Ra’anana near Tel Aviv, there are two stabbing attacks in the morning, an hour apart.
In Jerusalem, two Palestinians board a bus, one opens fire, the other begins hacking at passengers. At least three are killed, more than a dozen wounded. Also, in Jerusalem, chilling footage has emerged of a Palestinian deliberately ramming two Orthodox Jews standing at a bus-stop before leaving the vehicle and hacking one of the men to death.
We have seen images of an Israeli man with a knife lodged in the base of his skull. Only the handle is visible.
In another image a Jewish prayer shawl is soaked in blood, evoking dreaded memories of the Har Nof massacre in November, 2014, when two Palestinians slaughtered Jews at prayer in a Jerusalem synagogue. Now a bloodied hatchet lies on the footpath where, minutes earlier, commuters stood in the morning rush.
A clearer connection between the incitement and the act could hardly be conceived.
In any civilised society such clerics would be defrocked in disgrace, their chilling words would be immediately condemned and repudiated. But this is Palestine.
Last month, in another bloody call to arms, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, considered by many to be a moderate, declared Jews have no right to access the Temple Mount, the site of the First and Second Jewish Temples for more than 1000 years.
“(The Jews) have no right to desecrate it with their filthy feet,” he said.
He called upon his people “to do whatever we can to defend Jerusalem. Every drop of blood that was spilt in Jerusalem is pure blood as long as it’s for the sake of Allah. Every martyr will be in heaven and every wounded person will be rewarded, by Allah’s will.”
But defend Jerusalem from what and from whom? Jerusalem was unified by Israel during the Six Day War in June, 1967, after Israeli forces repelled the Jordanian army.
The Jordanians had illegally seized and occupied the eastern part of the city during the 1948 war. They had barred Jews from access to their holy places, desecrated Jewish graves and destroyed scores of synagogues and other religious sites.
Within hours of military victory, Moshe Dayan, Israel’s famed general and defence minister declared: “We did not come to conquer sacred sites of others or to restrict their religious rights, but rather to ensure the integrity of the city and to live in it with others in fraternity.”
Dayan then did something extraordinary. Having just restored Jewish sovereignty to the holiest site in Judaism for the first time in almost two millennia he issued a decree forbidding Jews from praying on the Temple Mount.
Dayan’s decree is still in force, in what is frequently referred to as the “status quo”.
The Temple Mount is as sacred to Jews as the Kabbah in Mecca is to Muslims and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is to Christians. Yet, in an extension of Dayan’s magnanimous gesture, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has consistently and unambiguously affirmed the status quo will not change.
Among Palestinians, however, conspiracy theories abound, about an imagined Israeli plot to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque which sits atop the Temple Mount and to build a third Jewish temple in its place.
Fed with these lurid fantasies and dangerous conspiracy theories it is little wonder some Palestinians are committing acts of unspeakable brutality aimed indiscriminately at Jews generally.
The images of violence and the themes underpinning it will be familiar to Australian audiences. Barbaric crimes targeting civilians or police officers are being carried out by indoctrinated teenagers in the name of religious duty.
The sequence of events that will surely follow will also be familiar. Israel will be urged to show restraint. Its reaction will be spotlighted by biased observers, rather than the bloody crimes which compelled it to act.
Israelis are coping, as they always have. Meanwhile, a sick and corroded Palestinian society, reared on the sermons of maniacal preachers and corrupt politicians, and increasingly detached from reality, descends into an orgy of criminal violence which is destined once again to turn in on itself.
Alex Ryvchin is public affairs director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the peak representative body of the Australian Jewish community
This information is compiled by Dr Ron Wiseman, Board Member of the Zionist Council of NSW